Hertfordshire amateur Tom Lewis headed for the weekend as leading Englishman at The Open as 17 of his compatriots missed the cut at Royal St George's
One shot behind Lewis, who stands one under after a 74, are European Tour regulars Simon Dyson and Robert Rock.
Staffordshire's Rock, who plays out of The Belfry, was on level par after following a 69 with a second-round 71.
Dyson, by contrast, went through mixed emotions, having briefly led on his own on five under, only to slump to a 72.
The man from York birdied his first three holes of the day before dropping one at the fourth.
He then stayed at four under for the next eight holes until the 13th, where he began a damaging run of four dropped shots in five holes.
Banbury's Gary Boyd and Richard McEvoy, from Shoeburyness, are one shot further back on one over.
Boyd followed his opening 71 with a second round 70, while McEvoy, who shot 69 on the first day and had fallen back to three over, birdied 16 and 17 to see himself safely through to the weekend.
Newcastle's Kenneth Ferrie shot a second successive 71 to make it on two over, the same mark as Justin Rose, who carded a level-par 70.
Simon Khan and Paul Casey scraped through to the weekend by just a shot on three over.
After his 17 first-day pars in an opening 71, Khan fired three birdies, but also suffered three bogeys and a double at the short third in his 72.
Casey made three front nine birdies in a one-under 69 as he recovered well from his first round 74.
MISSED THE CUT
As for the 17 Englishmen who failed to make the cut, undoubtedly the two biggest casualties were Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, numbers one and two in the world.
Donald bogeyed his last four holes for a five-over 75 to miss by three shots, while Westwood was kept sweating right until the end of the day before finding out that his second round 73 was just one shot too many.
In that same group on four over was world number 56 Ross Fisher, who matched Westwood's two round score of 71-73-144.
Hartlepool's Graeme Storm was also a shot too many, a double bogey at the last proving his undoing as he signed for a 74.
And South Yorkshireman Danny Willett, on his Open debut, could not maintain the promise of a first day 69 as he fell away with a 75 to also miss out on four over.
A shot behind Donald were his Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter, the world number 16, and Somerset club pro Lee Corfield on seven over.
After his first day 69, Poulter rattled up nine bogeys as he slumped to a 78.
As for Corfield, the man from Burnham & Berrow dropped three shots in his first four holes en route to a disappointing five-over 75.
While Tom Lewis sets the English pace, his two Welwyn Garden City colleagues Mark Laskey and Thomas Shadbolt, playing together, did not fare so well.
Laskey remained just ahead in their private duel despite slumping to a second day 76 to bow out on nine over, one ahead of Shadbolt, who also shot a 76.
On the same 10-over mark as Shadbolt was Wellingborough's Simon Lilly, who came home tidily in level-par 35 for the second day running as he too signed for a 76.
US-based Londoner Brian Davis could not turn things round after his opening 75, adding a 76 to crash out on 11 over - on the course where he enjoyed his best Open finish of sixth back in 2003.
Perhaps most disappointed was Adam Wootton, from the Oxford Golf Centre.
After his promising first-day 71, the young pro crashed to an 82 - running up a nightmare seven at the par-three sixth.
On the same 13-over mark was Londoner Andrew Johnston, who followed his first day 74 with a 79, and local boy Francis McGuirk, who followed his 77 with a second day 76.
McGuirk's Kent colleague Andy Smith was another of the few to improve on his first day score, trimming eight shots off his opening round as he bounced back from his first day 81 with a far tidier 73, including three birdies on the front nine - at 2, 6 and 7.
But Smith still went home on 14 over, while Windermere's Simon Edwards, last at St Andrews a year ago, had a few crumbs of comfort.
This time he improved on his first day score, carding a 79 which included birdies at the 5th and 7th.
But, while he finished second from last this time on 21 over, the suffering went on for amateur Craig Hinton from The Oxfordshire.
Attempting to recover from his first day 82, Hinton never recovered from dropping 10 shots in his first four holes.
He played the rest of the round in a more respectable seven over, including his one birdie of the two days at the 415-yard par four 10th but he still signed for an 87 to head for home on 29 over.